MusicHeadQuarter: The Duckworth Lewis Method

A 2009 review of the debut Duckworth Lewis Method album from MusicHeadQuarter. Thanks to Anja Hinsch for the translation from German.

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The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method

Divine Comedy Records / 1969 Records

Cricket Pop -  ever heard of such a thing? And if it wasn’t weird enough in itself, this ever so (or utterly) english sport is sung about by two Irish men. But one musn’t know or like Cricket to like this Summer-Album. But it’s in fact more fun and engiish cricket enthusiasts are delighted for a good reason. Stephen Fry twittered the Album to be “magnificient” recently and there is a proper hoo ha about it in the english press (Note - the german saying the author uses here, wouldn’t make any sense to you, so this is what it means). Continental Europeans may not be as fascinated by the White Sport, but behind Mr. Duckworth and Mr. Lewis stand no unknown strangers. Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh did grow themselves respectable beards especially for this not to be taken too serious project, which you can either admire or laugh about on the Cover Photo.

Hannon, who made himself quite a reputation under the Name The Divine Comedy with orchestral chamber-Pop. His musical Partner Thomas Walsh on the other hand is more like a quiet tip with his Band Pugwash. What lead to the not very charming Question: “Who is the big one?” in the usual pop-nerd forums. Hannons influence is very easy to recognise, music and lyric wise

Well formed phrases and puns backed up with mostly sumptuous music remind the listener strongly off The Divine Comedy. Highlight of the Album is the song “Jiggery Pokery”, a phrase that could be translated with “fauler Zauber”. It’s the story of Player Mike Gatting, who underestimated the harmless looking throw of Australian Player Shane Warne, maybe due to the fact, that he thought about food (“If it would have been a cheese roll it would never have got past me…”). This may sound unspectacular, but presented in polished Noel Cowardesque Wording and climaxing in a swelling Pseudo Baboon-Choir and the hysterical outburst: “I hate Shane Warne”, it’s equally beautiful and hilariously funny.

“Gentlemen & Players” is a perfect warm up-song to the Cricket Universe, as the essential whereabouts of Cricket are explained in the simple built- refrain. (”Gentleman and players play / sunday afternoon / gentleman and players play / april may june”) You can learn even more in “The age of the revolution”, which is the first single, as it’s about the spreading of Cricket in the (mostly former) colonies.

But it’s not always about Cricket, sometimes that’s just the starting point, from which the lyrics lead onto a completely different path. An example is “The Soft [sic. Sweet] Spot”. The Soft [sic] Spot hasn’t anything to do with rackets and balls, but is located in the middle of the body. Still it’s likewise in Games and Life: those, who find it, win.

The peculiar Bandname is based on the two statistic scientists Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis. They developed a method to regulate which Team shall win, when a game must be finished when rain sets in. A realistic scenario indeed for England. The Duckworth Lewis Method has the appropriate song for that in store too: “Rain stops play”, an instrumental.

Music, as english as Pimm’s Cup, Cucumber Sandwiches or Oscar Wilde. What? He was Irish? Yes indeed, just like The Duckworth Lewis Method.

MusicHeadQuarter - Jessica Walther